By Benjamin H. Liles
While in the last chapter of Ezekiel I was sating that God rather exalts people, He truly doesn't like the pride of those who stand against Him. Pride, in His eyes, is clearly a sin as it removes him off the throne of mankind's heart. He wants us humble, and seeking Him as He wants His name, His glory known.
That's why, here in Ezekiel 32 He is mourning the loss of Egypt and her ruler, Pharaoh; they are just as much His as are the people of Israel. He says this, "Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt" (Ezekiel 32:2, New King James). In other words, God is deeply troubled, grieved that Egypt and Pharaoh would keep Him out of their hearts and minds.
If we look back to Joseph's time in Egypt, we see this Pharaoh seeking to understand the troublesome dreams he receives. "Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river. Suddenly there came up out of the river seven cows, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. Then behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ugly and gaunt, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river. And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven fine looking and fat cows. So Pharaoh awoke" (Genesis 41:1-4).
Considering none of his advisors and magicians could tell him his dream or what his dream meant, so he decreed that if no one could interpret the dream those in his court and other men who might be able to tell him what it meant would meet death. But there is Joseph, a godly man, and he intercedes for this Pharaoh, "It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace" (Genesis 41:16). He goes in to explain the dream and it's meaning.
The revelation Joseph receives from His God, the One of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is thus: "The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. And the seven thin and ugly cows which came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will deplete the land. So the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe. And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass" (Genesis 41:25-32).
So, how does this relate to the Pharaoh in Ezekiel 31 and 32? He is proud and arrogant. He thinks everything he has and has worked for is by his hand alone. Even though he descends from the Pharaoh who knew Joseph and his God, this Pharaoh knows not the God of Israel. So, God has Ezekiel grieve over her and the people within Egypt.
While God gives out His fair judgment upon Egypt, due to Pharaoh, He doesn't delight in doing this. We get this inclination from the words He uses towards Pharaoh: "I will therefore spread My net over you with a company of many people, and they will draw you up in My net...For I have caused My terror in the land of the living; and he shall be placed in the midst of the uncircumcised with those slain by the sword,
Pharaoh and all his multitude" (Ezekiel 32:3-32).
God also uses one particular over repeated times, uncircumcised. It appears a total of ten times. If we think about what this means it shows a deadness to God and hearing Him and His word. What can any of us do in that case?
Considering God hates the sin of mankind, and yet has compassion for those who humble themselves in His eyes, I see within scripture a few things that puts us within range of accepting His grace and mercy:
1) "Incline your ear and come to Me; listen, that your soul may live" (Isaiah 55:3). This isn't the only place where scripture says this but also within David's prayer (Psalm 37:6), as well as Solomon's words (Proverbs 22:17-29) and again in another prayer David gives to God (Psalm 86). We see that a humble and contrite heart before God, seeking after Him and His ways gets God's attention. He hears the cries of the humbled.
2) Matthew 7:7 also is a variation of the previous, but Jesus phrases it differently, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (continues to Matthew 7:8).
3) Paul says, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'" (Romans 8:13-15).
4) There is an unnamed author of an epistle that claims, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony...These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth...And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us" (Hebrews 11).
How is it then possible that we obtain this just reward of God's faithfulness toward us? We surely cannot obtain it through our works alone, for we are told, "All our deeds (works) are like filthy rags; we all shrivel like a leak, and like the wind our sins sweep us away" (Isaiah 64:6). Over and over, even before I gave my heart fully to Jesus Christ this past month, October 9, I have maintained all of scripture testifies of the glory of Jesus Christ who delivers us from sin and death through His sacrifice on the cross.
When we believe on Him, taking by faith that He alone can give us life and extend His righteousness to us, we're doing so not because we worked for it; for as Paul says, "It was not the result of your own efforts [works], so you cannot [no one can] brag about it [boast]" (Ephesians 2:9). When we allow God, the Father, to reveal our the condition of our hearts to us, can we even hope to receive His gift of salvation. If we go back once more to where in Ezekiel 32 He tells Pharaoh his uncircumcised heart is the downfall of his empire (basically), it's due to the fact he doesn't desire the things God wants to show Him.
Dear one, I write this in the hopes you will find and understand scripture. For truly God doesn't desire any of those He has made to be separate from Him for eternity. No, we're to reign with Him in His power, His glory and His majesty. But we have to be willing to be humbled, to be given His grace, to have our sight restored and our ears to listen to Him. We can only do this by the gift the Son, Jesus the Messiah, did for us on the cross. It is His death and resurrection that we have access to the Father. We can rest in that and receive His power by way of the Holy Spirit so we can have everlasting life. So don't let the opportunity pass you by. I pray this in the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, for you. Amen.
#salvationbygod, #lifeinjesus, #salvationnotbyworks
#salvationbygod, #lifeinjesus, #salvationnotbyworks